Pop singer Shakira to face trial over tax fraud in Spain
ROME — A Spanish judge decided Friday that Shakira should stand trial over alleged tax evasion in Spain relating to the 2007 global pop sensation, “Confessions of a Shopaholic,” but dropped its case against the singer’s manager, Roberto Lovato.
A lawyer for Shakira and Lovato had asked a judge in Spain’s court of appeals in Madrid to reopen its case against Shakira and Lovato for unpaid taxes. But judges on Friday ruled the request should be denied because there was “no change in the state of the case” after the judge who originally heard the case at the preliminary hearing ordered a new prosecutor.
In December, Spain’s top court ordered the prosecution of the two men. Both are on trial and remain free. Shakira is also seeking a civil lawsuit against the taxman on behalf of the company she operates under her music career, with whom she lives in Spain.
The singer, who has sold more than 110 million records, has refused to return to Spain to face the charges. She has made her case that she is an innocent victim of what she called “politically motivated fraud” on the part of authorities.
Shakira said she had no way of knowing how many people used the company she runs, known as O2, to hide their incomes or how much the organization had paid in taxes. Shakira, who lives in London and New York with her family, said she wanted “to see the truth through.”
The judge’s decision to reopen the case came as a surprise to the judge on the case, whose ruling is expected by early June. The judge, Ana Cristina Hidalgo, said she was unaware of any change in the case and based her decision on an analysis of evidence available at the time of the original ruling.
Shakira and Lovato and the government of Spain both declined to comment on the matter Friday. Shakira has said she hopes to return to Spain to face the case when she feels the need to.
The judge’s ruling Friday could result in both Shakira and Lovato’s trial being thrown out. In a related case, two Spanish magistrates issued a similar ruling Friday striking down a decision by the prosecutor who charged Shakira and Lovato in November, saying the public prosecutor failed to establish that the tax evading scheme involved anyone but Shak